July 27, 2011
Who says being a stereotype can’t be fun? Or awesome?
So the webcomic feature this week is comedy/drama fantasy comic, Overlord of Ravenfell. The comic is produced by the all-female talents of ink-lady Raerae and code-monkette San and has been running since October 2010. Despite this fairly recent beginning, the comic has a fairly rich archive of pages to peruse, but don’t worry, the story hasn’t progressed so far as to be untouchable for the uninitiated (alliterate at all times!).
The comic centers around a very unfortunate Raven who loses his wings when he flies close to a steam engine.
Just kidding, it actually centers around Razin (often jokingly called Raisin), son of the previous overlord of the castle Ravenfell, who really wants to be the stereotypical dark evil overlord brooding in his castle and holding kingdoms to ransom. Problem being, as his guardian/jester Javanshin (aka Java, and a big fan of it too) soon discovers, is that Razin is a total buffoon. The cast of characters quickly expands from these two as they retake Ravenfell and start working on making Razin worthy of the throne.
Ravenfell works very successfully to create humorous situations and dialogue from the character, though it does unfortunately fall into what many would call “predictable” comedy annals, but this has greatly lessened in more recent pages when exposition has become less crucial to matters. In all, the comedy is pretty good and despite Razin’s quest to be a walking stereotype the jokes aren’t overplayed or overused in the genre at large.
Ravenfell, perhaps in imitation of its new master, suffers a slight bit of an identity crisis, especially in the early pages, where it tries to simultaneously be serious drama and light comedy. For example, it is very much supposed to be a near-fatal high-difficulty task to overcome the will of the castle itself and reclaim it, but in the short space of 2 pages Razin the Incompetent manages it, even after getting lost in the castle’s maze entrance that even Javanshin, who is very familiar with the place, had trouble navigating. Then there’s Razin’s magical abilities, inherited from his father, which are so overblown as to render just about every challenge he has yet faced to a burnt matchstick. As a predominantly drama-writer this does kind of irk me, but it does mean that those looking for comedy can rest assured that any spells of drama in Ravenfell will be brief and light, but in all I think the pacing could be improved in later pages.
And speaking of improvements, there’s the oft-important artwork. The artistic style of Rae has improved in small ways thus far, in the months-long lifetime of Ravenfell to date, but honestly I don’t think it needs to much anyway. The characters are portrayed with good proportions, clear definitions, and most importantly for the comic, they all have distinctive and expressive faces. In a single beat Razin can go from looking brooding and serious and macabre to screaming that he wants to keep the kitty he just saw as a pet with a big grin on his face. Evil cuddles indeed…
Raerae and San are currently suffering a spot of financial trouble due to some errant freeloading, so by all means feel free to lend them a few bucks, they will do commission work in exchange for your support. Ravenfell meanwhile continues to update fairly regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays.